RICHMOND, VA., July 8, 1864.
Brigadier General J. A. WALKER, Dublin, Va.:
Take position on Danville railroad at such points as you may select and assume command of the line between Richmond and that point.
Adjutant and Inspector General.
HDQRS. SECOND DIST., DEPT. OF N. C. AND S. VA., Goldsborough, N. C., July 8, 1864.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, C. S. America:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose a letter from Colonel George Wortham, commanding at Plymouth, for your consideration, and most earnestly to indorse the suggestions contained therein. Taking the same view of the matter as Colonel Wortham, I had already written to Captain Maffitt, urging him not to make the attack unless certain of success. I beg leave most respectfully to suggest that steps should be taken to obtain an immediate revocation of the order to Captain Maffitt. I take the liberty of addresing you directly upon the subject, on account of the importance of the matter and the necessity for immediate action, communicating at the same time with General Beuaregard.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. S. BAKER,
Brigadier-General, Commanding District.
HEADQUARTERS, Plymouth, N. C., July 2, 1864.
Captain J. C. MCRAE,
CAPTAIN: I learn from Captain Maffitt, C. S. Navy, that he has verbal instructions from the Secretary of the Navy to attack the enemy's fleet in the sound with the C. S. iron-clad steamer Albemarle. In the opinion of Commodore Pinckney and Captain Cooke, of the navy, who both know the iron-clad and her condition well, she will in all probability be captured or destroyed if she goes out into the broad waters of the sound to attack the enemy's fleet; and she must go into the sound if she attacks them at all. Other naval officers agree in this opinion. I would respectfully represent that if the iron-clad is captured or destroyed the Roanoke River will be open to the enemy's gun-boats, and the occupation of Plymouth rendered doubtful, if, indeed, its evacuation does not become an absolute necessity. There are three months to the Roanoke River, only one of which is commanded by the guns of this garrison, and the enemy can reach the river above this place by either of the others, and impede our communication with the interior, if not entirely cut it off, except in the direction of Washington, which place can be easily [it is said] reoccupied by the enemy whenever they wish to do so, as its defenses on the water side are weak, and its guns of not much power. In other words, the loss of the iron-clad involves, in all probability, the loss of Plymouth and Washington, and the rich valley of the Roanoke. Washington is worthless to the enemy while we hold this place, but in the event of the destruction of the iron-clad,